x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

The Eagles have landed in Dubai

We sit down for a Question & Answer session with Don Henley of the Eagles ahead of the band's performance in Dubai tomorrow.

Don Henley of the Eagles. The band performs tonight in Dubai.
Don Henley of the Eagles. The band performs tonight in Dubai.

For the first time in a career that spans 40 years, the Eagles will be performing in the Middle East, with Dubai as their first stop. We catch up with the band's founding member - the singer, songwriter and drummer, Don Henley - ahead of their performance.

Q: The Eagles are a band full of great individual songwriters. Do you find that a rarity in today's music scene?

A: Yes, I do. I can't identify one group in today's music scene that has four songwriters, but then I'm not completely current on what's out there now. I know there are some good young groups, but I am not familiar with their structure in terms of who does the songwriting.

I have a theory: that as well as the great songwriting, the success of the Eagles also stems from the fact that the band's songs sounded familiar and comforting to a generation coming out of the tumultuous political and cultural changes of the 1960s. What are your thoughts?

I've heard that theory before. I don't think it's that simple. Some of our songs are not "comforting" at all. And there were certainly a great many tumultuous cultural and political changes throughout the 1970s. I think it all comes down to the fact that our songs were well-written, well-recorded and well-played in concert. We are consistent and we always strive to improve. That's a time-honoured formula for success.

The other reason for our success is that we stay out of the harsh glare of the celebrity media spotlight. Fame has become a curse for many. We want to be known for making good music, not for who we were having dinner with last week. We are family men and we protect our children from all the cultural garbage that is strewn about by the western media.

There are two other proverbs that apply: Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Familiarity breeds contempt.

Were you surprised by the critical acclaim and success of Long Road Out of Eden after your 28-year break?

I was not surprised that the album did well in the marketplace, but I am always surprised by critical acclaim.

The Eagles are often associated with genres like pop, rock and country. Where do you see the band fit in?

We don't fit neatly into any category. We are a musical mongrel and that is one reason we have survived for all these years.

With the great success of Long Road Out of Eden and recent world tours, it seems the group found an effective way to work together in the studio and on the road. Is it a case of band members mellowing with age and experience?

We have not mellowed, necessarily, but the years have given us a greater perspective and we've become more tolerant and accepting. As the saying goes, we "don't sweat the small stuff".

Did you ever expect the group to be touring the Middle East?

If there's one thing we have learnt over these 40 years, it's that anything is possible. We thought that performing in the Middle East was unlikely, but not impossible. We are very glad to be here.

Planning to do any sightseeing in the UAE when you arrive?

Because of an airline schedule change, we are arriving in the UAE later than originally planned. We hope to do a little sightseeing, though. Apparently, there is a lot to see and we would like to see as much as we can during our brief stay.

Any word on a new album?

This year we are all making solo albums. Doing individual recording projects is one of the many ways we keep the Eagles together. There is no current plan to record another Eagles album, but, again, anything is possible.

• The Eagles will be performing tonight at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai. Doors open at 6pm. Tickets start at Dh350 and can be purchased online from www.timeoutdubai.com

sasaeed@thenational.ae

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